Own initiative investigation into Infolines about compliance with Electronic Communications Code requirements

09 November 2009

Complainant: Ofcom own-initiative investigation
Investigation against: Infolines Public Networks Ltd (Infolines)
Case opened: 05 May 2009
Case closed 05 November 2009
Issue: Whether Infolines is installing and operating public payphones in contravention of Electronic Communications Code (the Code) requirements
Relevant instrument: Regulation 16 of the Electronic Communications Code (Conditions & Restrictions) Regulations 2003 (Regulation 16)

On 5 November 2009 Ofcom issued a direction under section 106(3) of the Communications Act 2003 suspending Infolines powers as a Code operator until such time as Ofcom may revoke this Direction. Please see related item.

The direction is accompanied by an Explanatory Statement which sets out Ofcoms consideration that Infolines has repeatedly and seriously contravened Regulation 16.

Accordingly, Ofcom has now closed the investigation into compliance by Infolines with Regulation 16.

Update note - 22 September 2009

On 21 September 2009 Ofcom issued a notification to Infolines under section 107(6) of the Communications Act 2003 (the Act) proposing to suspend Infolines powers as a Code operator under section 113(4) of the Act (see related item).

The notification is accompanied by a draft direction under section 106(3) of the Act and an Explanatory Statement which sets out Ofcoms consideration that Infolines has repeatedly and seriously contravened Regulation 16.

As required by section 114 of the Act, Ofcom has separately given notice to Infolines of the proposed suspension, and provided Infolines with an opportunity to make representations about the proposal and suggest steps for remedying the situation that has given rise to the proposed suspension.

Infolines and other interested parties have until 26 October 2009 to make representations. After this date, subject to representations and proposals made by Infolines, and to respondents views on the notification, Ofcom proposes to suspend Infolines powers as a Code operator.

End of update note

Update note - 17 July 2009

Ofcom has issued a notification to Infolines under section 110 of the Communications Act 2003 (the Act) in relation to its contravention of Regulation 16.

The notification sets out that Ofcom has reasonable grounds to believe that Infolines continues to act in contravention of Regulation 16.

The notification gives Infolines until 14 August 2009 to comply with Regulation 16.

After this date Ofcom will consider whether further action is appropriate, including whether to suspend Infolines powers as a Code operator under section 113(4) of the Act.

A non-confidential version of the notification can be found at the foot of this entry.

End of update note

Regulation 16 includes a requirement that Code operators who carry out works on public highways, such as installing payphones, ensure that sufficient funds are available to meet specified liabilities (to cover any costs that a local authority might incur in reinstating the street should the operator concerned cease to trade and have failed to leave the street in a fit state of repair).

On 20 February 2007 Ofcom issued an Enforcement Notification under section 111 of the Communications Act 2003 (the Act) requiring that Infolines complied with its obligations under Regulation 16, following a failure by Infolines to comply with a previous section 110 Notification under the Act.

Ofcom is aware that Infolines may be continuing to operate payphones and may also be applying to local authorities to install further payphones.

Ofcom has launched this investigation to confirm this and whether or not Infolines is compliant with Regulation 16.
Case Leader : Ali Law (e-mail: alistair.law@ofcom.org.uk)
Case Reference : CW/01016/03/09